%> Nevada Riches: The Land and People of the Silver State
People & Life Ways
Riches, Ranching & Railroads

Jewish Settlers in Carson City (Yiddish)

Click the phonograph to hear the passage in Yiddish.

Jewish immigrants were part of a great migration from Europe to the United States in the 19th century.  Like other ethnic and racial groups, they were seeking freedom from political and religious persecution as well as economic opportunity.  Jews were not a large portion of Nevada's population.  The 1880 census documented 90 Jews living in Carson City, among a total population in the city of 4,229.  Many of those Jews lived in the oldest ethnic neighborhood in Nevada.  Some of those buildings from the 19th century survive, a physical reminder of an important part of Nevada's history.  The Olcovich brothers were early Jewish settlers, and successful businessmen in Nevada.  The house of Hymen Olcovich was in the center of the Jewish neighborhood in Carson City.

Rabbi Jacob Sheyer, who was also a dry goods merchant, provided for many of the religious needs of Jews in Carson City for about 10 years.  There was no synagogue in Carson City so High Holy Day services were held in the Masonic Hall.  Marriages and other religious ceremonies were performed in people's homes.  The rabbi traveled all over western Nevada and into California serving his Jewish congregation.

Reader: Ethel Jaffe

Photo Credit:
Nevada State Museum